As we look back on the 2021-22 school year that has come to a close this week, Wisconsin students have been through a lot. From a global pandemic, to funding uncertainties, to hearing news of gun violence in the very place we trust our kids should be safest, our education system faced well more than its fair share of adversity in the last two years.
Between the struggles, grief, and uncertainty, there were moments of hope and victory, thanks to the dedication and perseverance of the students, their teachers and parents who worked together like never before.
It’s also a testament to leaders like Gov. Tony Evers and his advocacy and support for public education and our students.
Gov. Evers often says what’s best for kids is best for our state. He’s turned those words and that sentiment into action and public policy in Wisconsin, like making good on his promise to restore two thirds funding to our schools for the first time in 20 years.
After Republicans refused to invest in education during the budget process this school year, Gov. Evers found a way to give $110 million to our k-12 schools, and $130 million to early childhood education.
As our schools weathered the turbulence of a global health crisis, Gov. Evers invested $50 million in after school programs to build on our kids’ education and provide vital socialization at a time when isolation had become the norm.
With a decades-long background in education, Gov. Evers knows better than most the importance of mental health in young kids – especially amid a pandemic. That’s why he introduced the Get Kids Ahead initiative this school year, a program set to deliver $15 million to mental health resources in Wisconsin schools.
This support and the funding that’s being provided is paying off. Wisconsin schools now rank in the top 10 best in the nation, up dramatically from where they were under the administration of Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch.
But it isn’t just early childhood and K-12 students that Gov. Evers prioritized this year. He’s looking out for our college students, too – making college more affordable for local families by extending the tuition freeze for the University of Wisconsin.
Gov. Evers knows that not every student will go on to college, but every student deserves an education that will prepare them for life after school. That’s why he’s also making investments in apprenticeship programs and collaborations with employers to help with workforce challenges.
Every kid in the Badger state should have equal access to high quality public education that prepares them for the future. Thanks to Gov. Evers, we’re on the right path to get there. And as we close the books on this school year and get ready to enjoy the summer, we can look forward to an even better 2022-23 academic year for our children and our schools under Gov. Evers’ leadership.